I have discovered a completely new side of me. The “domestic goddess”. But I use this term loosely. Very loosely.
Growing up, I used to hate cleaning. Crockery in the sink, hair on the floor, etc (gross right?)… I guess I got by because there was always someone else to do it for me. One of the reasons why I think I found that cleaning was such a chore was because I had too many things. I believed in “shopping therapy” and because I hoarded so many things, I didn’t know what I had so I thought I needed something when I already had it somewhere in the house. It’s a vicious cycle.
Years of convincing myself that “creative minds are rarely tidy” (I had a mug that said just that… lies!) had me resigning to the fact that I would probably never be a clean person.
However, since I’ve been here in Portugal where I have to essentially do everything around the house, I had to learn to tidy and clean my own space efficiently and effectively. I was on the hunt for methods that required minimum effort for maximum effect. In the midst of all this, I stumbled upon the concept of minimalism and also getting rid of stuff that does not spark joy… a.k.a. the Konmari method.
And boy was it something I really needed.
You see, we spend so much of our lives being convinced that we will be happy once we have something, whatever that something might be. Perhaps the latest technology (guilty!), trendiest clothes, youth preserving skin care, millionaire lifestyle, etc. But the truth is that things will never satisfy us. Until we learn to enjoy and be content with what we have, we’ll always be on this never ending cycle of consumerism. Half our homes, if not more, are usually filled with things we hardly use or guilty items that we keep because “it cost so much” or “someone gave this to me” even though we don’t like them.
Although I’m not about to turn into what others might perceive as the stereotypical minimalist, I am quite happy to adopt some of its practices to remove some of the noise in my life and focus on what is truly important to me: people, experiences and things that truly bring value to my life.
The book by Marie Kondo, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, has certainly helped me to rethink the value I ascribe to personal possessions and taught me some practical ways to declutter and clean my space. While I am still far from what I consider to be my ideal, each time I choose to declutter, I find that I can part ways with more things which I thought were difficult the previous round. It’s still an ongoing journey, but I am quite pleased to know I am heading in the right direction.
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